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Thursday, July 26, 2018

The president can’t take that away.

Martha Raddatz is chief global affairs correspondent for ABC News, co-anchor of ABC’s “This Week” and author of “The Long Road Home: A Story of War and Family.”

Like so many of my colleagues, I have covered this nation’s wars for decades, working side by side with our soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen. I have shared foxholes and flight decks with these brave Americans, and I have felt our mutual respect for the responsibility that each of us holds in our chosen professions. It has been an honor covering them and the families who support them. I am proud that I can tell their stories.

It is the job of the media to rigorously cover the military and to ask hard questions. But I could never have told those stories if the military did not open its doors to me.

I think of the combat mission I witnessed from the back seat of an F-15 that gave me a firsthand look at the care our aircrews take when conducting those missions. I think back to the summer of 2004 in Iraq, when I heard about a battle in which eight of our soldiers were killed in just a few hours, most trying to rescue a platoon that had been ambushed. If the Army hadn’t helped me tell that story, if those soldiers and their families hadn’t trusted me with some of the most painful memories they will ever have, the heroics of that battle would never have come to light. There would have been no ABC News stories, no book, no National Geographic series on the battle.

I am proud to have gained the hard-won respect of so many of those I have met over the years. But as I listen to the vitriol aimed at the press by our president, I worry that those days of mutual respect will disappear for the next generation of reporters.

We in the press are all sadly getting used to listening to some Americans booing, threatening and belittling the media at the behest of President Trump. But Trump’s rally before hundreds of veterans at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo., was especially disturbing.

“Don’t believe the crap you see from these people, the fake news,” Trump said, pointing to members of the press there to cover the event.

Have those veterans who booed and taunted the media in response to Trump’s cue forgotten that some members of the press corps are combat veterans? Have they forgotten that there are members of the press who continue to cover the military after suffering life-altering injuries while at the side of our courageous service members? Have they forgotten that since the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, hundreds of journalists have given their lives for their work, many times while reporting from U.S. war zones?

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Pure Art of the Moron

By:  Rick Wilson - Daily Beast

I’m often on the receiving end of the Trumpentariat’s criticisms of Never Trump conservatives.

Don’t I get it? Don’t I love how Trump is achieving the impossible, and soaring to heights to which no other president could aspire? Haven’t I gotten over the election yet? When, oh when, will I finally MAGA? I received an email Tuesday from a Trump fan asking why for once I couldn’t congratulate Donald Trump for his work with North Korea.

Leaving aside my usual critiques of Trump, which are, as you may have noticed, colorful, varied, and pointed, let’s give the president a fair assessment of his week’s activities, and thanks and credit where thanks and credit are due.

Of course, we start when Trump fled the humid confines of Washington, D.C., jetting to Quebec to blow up the G7 summit and take a massive political and rhetorical dump on some of our longest-standing and closest allies. But I’m playing nice, so thank you, Mr. President, for adopting 19th-century trade policies that combine both raging economic illiteracy and inevitably adverse outcomes for America. Well done.

Thank you, because nothing says Presidential Stature like your juvenile dick-waving and insults attacking the heads of state of the G7 nations. Thanks are also in order for deploying your clown-car motorcade of loudmouth, shock-jock aides to make the damage worse.
Great work taking direction from the Home Office in Moscow; you spent more time at the G7 summit doing Vladimir Putin’s bidding than you did strengthening the ties between the United States and our closest allies.

Even so, I’m supposed to thank the president, right? Well, thank you, Donald. You sent a message to our allies in Asia and beyond that you’re willing to compromise their security and ours for an inconsequential photo-op with a hopped-up fatboy dictator who looks like Pyongyang already has a Krispy Kreme and a Popeyes, and he’s the only one allowed to eat in them

Russia, Iran, Syria, and other bad actors want to thank you, Mr. President. You sent the clearest of signals that sanctions regimes, inspections, and verified denuclearization are no longer relevant in our brave new era of nationalist populist strongmen and Michael Bay knockoff videos.

Evidently, all the bad guys have to do is kiss your ample ass long enough and shower you with enough superficial praise and they can play you like the trifling intellectual lightweight you most certainly are. So, thank you for that reminder.

Nobel Prizes may have been dancing in your head on your way to Singapore, and perhaps the Nobel Committee will fire up the forge and cast you an extra super-glitzy giant prize, out of gratitude.

Perhaps the medal will make up for the fact Kim Jong Un took away every single thing he wanted from this meeting, including the propaganda coup of all propaganda coups.

Ever wonder what the consequences of legitimizing a nuclear-armed madman who has used chemical weapons on his own family, starved his people, and engaged in systematic mass murder to retain power might be? Congratulations! You’re about to find out. Us too.

Evidently, the purpose of the trip was to produce a communiqué so shallow, meaningless, and ephemeral that its contents were a combination of already-broken DPRK agreements and back-of-the-envelope wishcasting. Our South Korean allies may seem freaked out, but it’s just their way of appreciating you.

Well done, Mr. President. You got your on-camera handshake with a man who orders the deaths of children. You got your lunch with one of the few remaining dictators on this earth and put the Leader of the Free World on the same level as a hereditary thug who killed his half-brother with chemical weapons.  (Continues...)